Mobile broadband users are set to enjoy a choice of European providers, caps on European roaming charges and automatic usage alerts while roaming outside Europe.
Lower roaming costs will come in on July 1 if they’re approved by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers this spring.
They’ll be followed in 2014 by getting a choice of mobile operators when you land in a European Union country, to encourage competition for better and cheaper broadband.
And worldwide travellers will get automatic alerts to stop them running up massive broadband bills.
Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice president for the Digital Agenda, said: “Consumers are fed up with being ripped off by high roaming charges.
“The new roaming deal gives us a long-term structural solution, with lower prices, more choice and a new smart approach for data and Internet browsing.
“The benefits will be felt in time for the summer break – and by summer 2014, people can shop around for the best deal.”
From July 1, broadband roaming will cost no more than 70 Eurocents/MB (about 59p compared to over £1 today), and users will be charged in Kilobytes instead of rounding up to the nearest MB.
Other roaming costs will be capped at 29 Eurocents/minute to make calls (24p), 8Ec/min to receive calls (7p) and 9Ec to send a text (8p).
These caps will decrease so that by July 1, 2014, broadband roaming will cost no more than 20Ec/MB (17p), 19Ec/min to make a call (16p), 5Ec/min to receive a call (4p) and 6Ec per text (5p).
Then, from July 1, 2014, mobile users will be able to shop around for the best deal for roaming, and even sign a separate contract for the same number.
We’ll also be able to pick roaming services on the move as we travel from country to country, or have different contracts for different countries set up in advance.
Roaming price alerts for European mobile phone users will also be extended worldwide from July 1, so we’ll automatically get a text when we approach €50 of data downloads (or another agreed limit), asking if we want to continue using data.
Virtual network operators like Virgin and Tesco will also be able to pick and choose their European roaming partners instead of taking the choice of their British network supplier.
The European Commission roaming proposals are designed to encourage competition between mobile operators across the EU so that there’s no long-term need for price caps.